Scott Morrison has promoted two of his closest allies in a reshuffle following Christian Porter’s recent departure from the ministry.
Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke moves from the Outer Ministry to the Cabinet, while Ben Morton moves from Assistant Secretary to the Outer Ministry.
As expected, Energy Secretary Angus Taylor will retain the industrial portion of Porter’s old portfolio.
Taylor was installed as acting minister when Porter was forced to resign after refusing to disclose the names of donors who helped fund his legal action against the ABC.
Taylor becomes minister for industry, energy and emissions reduction.
However, the science portion of Porter’s former portfolio is being divested and handed over to Defense Secretary Melissa Price, who will add science and technology to her other responsibilities.
Morrison said he had asked Taylor to “focus on the critical supply chain initiatives of the recent Quad and the unique role Australia can play based on our national strengths in areas such as critical minerals”, working with the Minister for Resources Keith Pitt.
Hawke, who has been a Morrison number man and close associate for years, does not change his responsibilities for immigration, citizenship, migration services and multicultural affairs, but fills the cabinet spot that Porter had.
Morrison said his increase “pleasantly” brought the immigration portfolio back into the cabinet.
“Minister Hawke has done an absolutely extraordinary job of late in the evacuation from Kabul,” Morrison told a news conference.
Morton, who has been Morrison’s assistant minister, will enter the ministry as special minister of state, minister of public service and minister assisting the prime minister and cabinet. Morrison said this would take over and expand Morton’s current responsibilities.
Morton, former director of the Liberal Party in Western Australia, is a close confidant of Morrison.
Tim Wilson, of Victoria, has been promoted from the backseat to assistant minister to minister for industry, energy and emissions reduction.
Anthony Albanese attacked the reshuffle, saying Morrison “used it as an opportunity to reward his friends”. He said Hawke was one of the few people in the Liberal party close to Morrison.
Albanian said the Ministry of Industry was a full-time job, but Morrison had chosen to promote Taylor to that position “on top of his existing responsibilities.” […] which have proved too much for him”.
He said that on the same day Gladys Berejiklian resigned due to an ICAC investigation, Taylor – who has been the subject of several controversies – had been promoted.
“This is another reminder of how many people are running in Mr Morrison’s government, talking reminders of the need for a national anti-corruption commission.”